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updated 21 Apr 2014, 07:44
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Thu, 06 Dec 2012
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Japanese women wear face masks to look more attractive

Walking along the streets of Tokyo or anywhere in Japan, it is not uncommon to find people wearing face masks.

They are worn for a few reasons, for example if you are ill, have allergies, or want to keep nasty germs around you at bay.

But now it seems more young Japanese are wearing masks for a different reason - vanity.

According to a survey conducted by a Japanese news programme, more men and women are wearing masks even though they are not sick.

Based on data collected last year from Shibuya, Tokyo's most popular fashion district, 30 per cent of people wearing surgical masks wore them for reasons unrelated to sickness or allergies.

But now, the number is up 14-fold compared to previous data, reported news site Japan Today.

The top reason young Japanese gave in wanting to wear masks is to hide their face, especially for women who are not wearing any makeup.

Japan Today also reported that according to research by Naver Matome, an info gathering site, some women say face masks help them appear more attractive.

Said one high school girl: "“It gives you a mysterious appearance since only your eyes are showing. Wearing a mask makes me look cuter!”

Other reasons listed (from most popular to least) include: to keep their face warm; to make their face look small; as a source of comfort; and to keep their throat from being dry while sleeping.

Wearing a mask for comfort also suggests issues with one's self image.

When interviewed, many Japanese high school students say the mask helps to hide their true feelings from others, and reduces the need to "create facial expressions for other people".

candicec@sph.com.sg

Click on the thumbnails for more bizarre street fashion trends from Japan.

(Photos: tokyofashion.com)

Related stories:
'Bagel-heads' are latest bizarre trend in Japan
'Vajazzling' trend catching on here

 

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Face masks used to be worn in Japan only when one was sick, or didn't want to get sick, especially during the spread of the H1N1 flu virus in 2009.
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